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Back in May, I picked up a new daily… a Hellrot Red 1993 BMW 325is. My friends Alie and Jeremy were moving out west and needed to sell this beaut! It just to happened, that gas mileage in The Destroyer™ was bleeding my wallet dry, and I needed something slightly more fuel-efficient. That put me in the right place at the right time to pick this car up cheap!

Alie Fleck/Andy Sapp e36 BMW 325is

I immediately snagged some Raceland coilovers and slammed the hell out of it on a old set of Racing Dynamics.
Andy Sapp - e36 BMW 325is

I have some funny plans for this car that are light years from happening. For now I’m just enjoying some gas-savings and having a fun daily again! This car has humbly reminded me how good I am at driving like an absolute maniac. Kindred spirits we are… kindred spirits.
Andy Sapp - e36 325is

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Before I dive into what is the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for me… let me preface some history.Back in October of 2010, two friends of ours, Axel and Martin, came stateside from Germany for a visit. During that week, there happened to be a drift event up in Nashville. My car at the time, had a shattered ring-and-pinion, but I wanted them to drive while they were here. I had a rebuild kit from KAAZ overnighted, and got a new pumpkin from Stricktly German. Matt Foerst got the KAAZ rebuilt, and back into the new carrier. Axel got the diff back into my car while I was busy finishing freelance work. A very VERY important facet to this story is that… at the time… I was knee-deep in the worst financial turmoil of my life. I had been struggling to stay afloat as a freelance designer, while still falling deeper-and-deeper into debt from drifting. But with the car freshly patched up, we made a last-minute dash to Nashville. To shorten the story up, my first run of the morning, the car’s rear-end was already making a clunking noise. Something broke. There I was, maxing out my last credit card so we could drive at this event… and the car broke on the first run. I drove back to the pit, and told the guys “Fuck it. We came here to drive and that’s what we’re going to do… if it blows up, it blows up. Let’s have fun today no matter what”. And we did. All day. The noise got worse with each pass, and by the day’s end… the car was indeed… very broken.When we got back to Atlanta, I decided to park the BMW in the garage, and take a break. I needed to get my finances out of the gutter, and that obviously was not happening with it in the picture. The thing is… I never intended that break to extend into the hiatus that it did.Fast forward to present-day, 2012. I am working an awesome full-time job, finances are doing much better, and in the meantime, the starter died on the car, so I took it up to Koru, where I planned to work on it at least one night a week.The only problem is, that with work… I could barely find the time to actually work on fixing the car. Good intentions only go so far, especially when it comes to turning wrenches (read: they don’t turn themselves).Now. Let me introduce you to my dear friend, Kyle Boyce. rnI’ve known Kyle since 1992, when we were best friends in middle school. Like many childhood friendships… Kyle and I lost touch for many years after I moved away, but we reconnected through the universal language of the automobile… and… when in 2008 Kyle reached out to me after opening his own restaurant: Manhattan NY Pizza. Kyle told me that he wanted his pizza place to be a hangout for car guys/gals. Where any gearhead could walk in and feel at home. I was immediately on-board with this, and did my best to tell all of my friends and miscellaneous gearheads alike. And it worked. Manhattan Pizza is now a staple for speed-crazy, wrench-turning maniacs from all over Atlanta. All of my friends religiously converge there once-a-week like the gigantic family that they are****************************************************************************************************************************rn****************************************************************************************************************************rnTHIS IS WHERE THE HISTORY LESSON ENDS..AND THE REAL STORY BEGINS.rn****************************************************************************************************************************rn****************************************************************************************************************************rnKyle calls me up, and says “WE NEED TO HAVE DINNER. Just you and me, pick a date, and lets stick to it”. He said “I know you’re busy, and I’m busy, but let’s do this PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE”. I’ve known Kyle long enough to know that when he says please more than once… that it is important. So we picked a day, and stuck to it. I arrived to the restaurant early, and found a table reserved for the two of us. Yes, that is combined weight. ;PHe brings out my usual, and we sit down and eat. Catching up on what’s been new in each other’s worlds. A few of my friends show up, for the normally scheduled “family” get-together. The whole time, Kyle is texting a lot… which I remember thinking – Kyle doesn’t usually text this much… but whatever. Then, he excuses himself, and goes into the kitchen.Then… one-by-one… in a single-file line… ALL of my friends come out from the kitchen. All wearing the same black t-shirt that had the funny beard-skull illustration that Patrick/Tyler made of me on it… reading SAVE THE SAPP. Nobody said anything to me, most barely even looked at me… and everyone sat down. I’m definitely thinking “WHAT. IS. GOING. ON. HERE?”Kyle then gives a short speech, which can be Cliff’d along the lines of “We know your car has been broken, and you still come out to all the events and shoot video… which we love… but we love you, and we miss driving with you. So we’re having a drift intervention. We stole your car, had a fundraiser, and fixed it behind your back without you knowing.” At this point I hear my lovely 2001 BMW 325Ci’s unmistakeable exhaust note revving up outside as it pulls up to the restaurant.Cliff’d Cliffs: STOLE CAR, RAISED MONEY, FIXED CAR BEHIND MY BACK, THESE PEOPLE ARE THE MOST AMAZING. EVER.I have always said that I am forever in debt to drifting for introducing me to the most amazing people I will ever meet in my lifetime… AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN. I couldn’t even say anything. I just wanted to cry. That’s right. Heavy metal crazyman… on the verge of tears. I got up and demanded a hug from everyone in the entire restaurant… holding back tears the entire time.I basically didn’t know what to say the rest of the night. This is by far the nicest thing anyone or any group of anyone has ever done for me. Once oustide, and reunited with my Chariot of Fire… well… I guess you could say you had to see this coming. And if you didn’t, then you don’t know me and my propensity for violence on the streets.The black ribbon atop my car, with message so near-and-dear to my heart… embodied a million-times-over by the kindness and heart behind this special evening.The fundraiser t-shirt that paid for the parts to fix the car. The extra money raised went to buying me a season pass to attend the S2 Drift Events down at Turner. I can’t even scream at the top of my lungs how amazing this is! There is above and beyond… and then there is what all of these incredible people have done for me.Kyle made pizza for everyone, and these were literally icing on the cake, care of my amazing MotherGroup photo from the evening. There were several people that helped make this happen that aren’t pictured here… but everyone in this photo, and everyone involved are easily the most amazing people I have ever met. I am without a doubt, the luckiest guy on the planet. I don’t know what I did in a past life… or even the current one to deserve it… but I am very, VERY thankful to have these people in my life. SERIOUSLY. AMAZINGI cannot thank all of my families enough (in NO particular order), DriftMechaniks, Team Rowdy, Boyce Family, Sapp Family, and the DRIFTING family as a whole. Words cannot even begin to do any of this justice… but I had to at least try.I will wrap this up with a photo of myself and Kyle. Except this one isn’t us elbow-to-elbow in the early 90′s as kids. This is of the two things that brought us back together as friends, in front of the restaurant that we both tried our damnedest to make a place for gearheads from all over to feel at home… for good food, great atmosphere, and even better memories.Thank you, Kyle<3

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After rediscovering the magic of my photos from Africa, I remembered another photoset from long ago. After digging through notebooks of old CD-ROMs… I found another trove of images. This time… of my beloved BMW, EvelynFrom day 1, my love for this car was of exceeding proportions. The Jet Black gloss of the paint seemed forever deep, the smell of the black leather hypnotizing, and the rev of the motor… well… let’s just say that aspect was most arousing of allLost in my enamour for this wondrous chisel of German engineering, I used to wander the city streets of Atlanta… forever searching for the perfect environment to compliment to car’s stunning good looksArmed with a (now ‘vintage’) 35mm Nikon N2000, and a 28-70mm 1:3.5-4.5 f3.5 lens, I scoured my city for cool locales, sharing an immeasurable amount of bonding time with the car that stole my heartInspired by the UK magazine, CAR… I was drawn to the idea that the vehicle’s surroundings could speak at an equal volume to the subject itself. Unfortunately (for me, anyway)… in the advent of digital photography, this practice has become commonplaceRegardless, to me… there is something infinitely pure about these photos. No race-trim, no slammed stance, no battle-scars. These photos bring back some great memories when my car was brand-new, times seemed simpler, and my love for the automobile was the only inspiration I needed.You can view rest of this photoset on Flickr.

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The past three weeks have been a whirlwind of chaos and awesome. Round 2 of Formula Drift has come and gone… and with it came some SERIOUS life memories. At one point I think we had 13 people staying at my house. Every night it seemed like someone new. While I am glad things have returned to normal… I can honestly say it has left me slightly depressed! So many good times, I don’t even know where to begin. Race week started a bit early… when my good friends Will Roegge and Joshua Herron made an S.O.S. call to me. Their 1974 Volkswagen van had broken down a few hours south of Atlanta in LaGrange. The ‘Westy’ is their home-on-the-road during primary photography for their cross-country documentary, “KEEP DRIFTING FUN”. After procuring Tyler’s trailer at midnight, Wes and Lieze and I rocketed southbound for a rescue mission. Halfway there we got a call that the van started… so we met up with them on the highway just to be safe
Keep Drifting Fun VW Westy

The Westy wasn’t running well at all… so with cue from Eugene, we took it to Barry Palmer Auto for a diagnostic eval from an air-cooled guru. The van’s motor had no compression, and was in need of a transplant

I picked up a new roof spoiler from paint at Jeff’s Auto Restoration to replace the one that flew off in-tow last year

My tow-hooks came back from KILLIN’ EM. Fresh hit of satin black to hide the ol’ red. Thanks Scott!!!

Picked up a few miscellaneous parts for the car. Water temp sensor adapter from TRM and a new cabin AC filter. I also snagged a new OE radiator, spark plugs, and wiper blades (not pictured)

I re-worked the wiring for the back of my gauges… including some quick-disconnects for easier maintenance

I got frisky with The Destroyer™ and pulled the front end apart..

So I could bake the lower light housings and hit the reflectors yellow. While the grill was off, I had Jeff hit the chrome bits with paint to match the body color… and I re-wrapped the Chevy emblem with black vinyl. I also installed a 3000K HID kit from DDM Tuning

We adopted an awesome (outside) cat. Lieze named him Meow Meow.

I had Pho for the first time

I gave the e46 a much-needed wash before taking her to the track…

and the next thing I knew I was being bombarded with water balloons by kids in the neighborhood.

Luckily my friends Drew Fishbein and Ross Fairfield were there to catch the action for their site OMGDRIFT!

Then Formula Drift came crashing back into my life full-force for FD Pro Am. I put my game face beard on for an amazing weekend… which I will leave for another post.
Shot c/o Will Roegge

The day after FD was a Southeast Drift event at Turner (more on this later). Tons of FD dudes came out to shred with us local-folk

Then the new 2.0L motor for the Westy arrived via frieght

We took the van back to Palmer Auto where Barry and Mikey took the reigns from there to get the van back running in tip-top shape. The larger motor with mechanical lifters will make the rest of Will and Josh’s voyage on the high-seas of FUN much better

Slowly… all my house guests began departing to their corners of the globe… leaving behind some amazing memories and awesome times. Will and Josh were the last to return to the road in the Westy… headed north to Jersey by way of Charlotte, Richmond, Baltimore and Philly. With everyone gone, and my house back it’s quiet state, I’m left to reflect on how lucky I am. Not only has this crazy motorsport taken me places I never thought possible… it has also introduced me to some of the most creative, talented, and overall BADASS MOTHERFUCKERS on the planet. And for that… I am truly honored and extremely grateful.<3

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